4 January 2016

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6 Things You Must Do Before Switching to VoIP Phone Service

Business Phone Service by Tom Collins

We all love and demand reliability, from our copiers and printers to our computers and Internet connections. Phones are no exception.

That's why business was initially hesitant to migrate from PRI or analog trunks to VoIP phone technology. VoIP has grown in popularity and reliability through significant advances in the last few years. The result is that you can get the same kind of reliability from your VoIP service provider as you did from Ma Bell.

What Must Be Done Before Switching to VoIP

One of the greatest things you can do before making any change, whether large or small, is to have all the facts. You need to know what decision is right for your company and your team.

Our job at Atlantech is to enable businesses to operate and communicate better while improving their bottom line using the ever-changing technology that surrounds us.

VoIP is a great way to bring your company up to speed providing you with great features, increased reliability, and quality sound all at low cost. If you’ve already started the migration process to VoIP, or are currently considering it, here is a concise list of things to do before completing a migration to VoIP.

Have a High-Quality Internet Connection

This seems rather obvious, but it is one of the most important success factors. Without a reliable Internet connection, VoIP service will suffer.

High-quality Internet has become increasingly easier to obtain with fiber connectivity becoming progressively available nationwide. Internet connections and upload/download speeds available today have made it generally uncomplicated and effortless for companies to switch to VoIP.

Still, ensuring that you have a high-quality Internet connection is paramount to success with VoIP.

Consider Call Volume and Available Bandwidth

How many calls by how many phones will you have going simultaneously? You’ll need to make sure your bandwidth can handle your call volume and internet usage. In evaluating how much bandwidth you'll need for your company, you may want to consider a separate, dedicated connection just for your phone service.

Double-Check Network Components

Many times, we've found poor network components to be the culprit of voice quality problems.

For example, if an office has a department a relatively long distance from the LAN room, they may install a switch to connect several computers to the network. If that switch is a 100Mbps WAN port, it will already be working at maximum capacity just from a few people printing and accessing the file/mail servers. When you add VoIP phones to that department, they are forced to compete with an already severely congested connection.

In many cases, IT departments will change to a 1000Mbps port to battle this problem. But if that hub or switch is poor quality, or old and outdated, it's not going to work properly, and you will continue to experience voice quality problems.

Verifying that all components are up to date will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches in the long run. Having an expert do a site survey, or an analysis of your network will help identify potential component-driven problems.

Make Sure Your Phone Equipment Works With Your New VoIP System

Because VoIP is an Internet option for making and receiving calls, the equipment your team utilizes must be equipped with Ethernet support. Determine how many phones you want and what your price range is. You should be able to get any needed equipment from your VoIP provider.

VoIP has great options for phone sets and features. There is call waiting, transferring, extensions, voicemail, phone logs, contacts, and even video calling. The features of VoIP are easy to deploy and great for productivity. But most of these features are dependent on compatible phone equipment.

Train Your Employees on the New System

This point absolutely cannot be overstated.

Make sure your team has the knowledge they need before you completely switch over. You’ll save yourself time and productivity by having everyone up to speed.

Nothing will be more frustrating for your entire team than having the new system go live and have no idea how to use it.

Inform them through in-person training, manuals, and tutorial videos. Make sure they completely understand how to use the new equipment and VoIP system.

Setup All Extensions, Background Music, etc.

Frustration presents itself when you've called a company, and their phone system isn't set up correctly. It also sets the tone for how a company is perceived for quality of service.

If the extension tree isn't set up properly, the prompts lead nowhere or to the wrong person or there is no background music (or inappropriate music or programming), all of these can lead to a negative customer reaction to your company.

Please don't be that company.

Before your switch go into your account, set up all the extensions, the background music, and record your greetings. If you’re going to have a virtual secretary, set up the extension tree before you make the switch.

That way when VoIP is implemented there is nothing out of place and everything is business as usual.

Take Advantage of Mobility

VoIP phones and softphones can be used anywhere you have a data connection. This gives your employees the ability to operate from almost anywhere, in the office or the field.

Offering employees the ability to work from home is gaining popularity across all industries. VoIP technology empowers your employees to work remotely, without sacrificing their connectivity. When you add smartphones and laptops to the mix, the possibilities of what companies can do with their employees are endless.

It's important, though, to proactively train all employees on how to manage their mobility features. Training employees prior to launch will ensure that your team knows how to take advantage of mobility from day one, without the risk of human error causing a gap in your communications.

Painless Switching to VoIP

Migrating to VoIP doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. If you follow these guidelines, they will help you and your team have a smooth and seamless transition.

If you would like Atlantech to help you make the switch to VoIP, or if you have any questions about how VoIP will impact your business, feel free to talk to one of our customer support experts. They will be able to help you make the right decision on technology and implementation so your business can best the benefits of the best in voice technology.





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.

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